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Interesting article regarding mental health

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Interesting article regarding mental health

Old 28th Mar 2015, 08:06
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Interesting article regarding mental health

Certainly raises a few interesting points.

Pilot mental health: Aussie pilot says mental health issues are not given enough priority
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 08:43
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"mental health issues arn't given enough priority in the aviation industry"

hell, even quality basic training isnt given enough priority in the aviation industry. what makes anyone think mental health will get a look in.... (sadly)
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 09:19
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Sadly I believe that after this week's events no pilot will be honest and disclose any mental health issues. If their airline or CASA get a hold of this information they will be grounded due to fear of another Germanwings incident. Talking to a few guys this week, they all agree they would no longer take up our airline's counselling services if required in times of need.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 09:28
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I strongly concur. Who in their right mind (?) will put their hand up now? We will regress to the "toughen up" and "keep it to yourself" times of yesteryear, though I'm not entirely convinced we had progressed from there all that much anyway. Tragic event, that has tarred anyone in the industry who may have needed to seek help and has never had even the slightest intention or thought of taking 140+ lives with them.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 01:31
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I agree. I thought that Avmed made some fairly interesting decisions previously but can only imagine what sort of lunacy lies ahead - all in the name of safety.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 01:47
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I wholeheartedly agree. No person in their right mind would answer in the affirmative to any of the bullshit questions that are asked during a medical. We all don't drink, don't smoke and exercise incessantly. And any mental health line of questioning will get the same. Only a damn fool would take the lid off that can of worms. If the oxygen thieves at Avmed get a sniff of any kind of issue they'll have your medical pulled in the blink of an eye. Is it any wonder many folk fake their way through medicals.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 04:14
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Society in general (not just aviation) needs to re-think how it deals with mental health issues.

The first thing that needs to be acknowledged is that mental health issues can affect any person at any time. In that respect it is no different to a cold; anyone can become a victim. It can also vary in severity, and thankfully very few people will ever reach the depths of despair that may have precipitated this weeks tragedy.

Anyone who has ever had a relationship end, suffered financial loss, lost a job, had a loved one pass away suddenly or been the unfortunate victim of an accident (case in point; the young mother who was the subject of the Four Corners report last week) is potentially exposed to mental health problems.

Unfortunately in our industry admitting to these sorts of problems can be a one-way ticket to unemployment. Which leads me to the real crux of the matter - why is it that our regulator and (most, but not all) employers effectively encourage someone hiding such a burden?

Human factors training usually brushes on this sensitive topic, but then hurriedly suggests that anyone who might be under such pressures should seek professional care. Which leads to a terrible choice -
  • admit the problem and probably expose yourself to unemployment (at the very least) or financial ruin, or,
  • maintain a stiff upper lip and "toughen up".

The choice is one that no-one should ever have to make, especially in our industry.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:26
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Pilot recruitment will change, battery psychometric testing to see if you have the slightest hint of being depressed. Hell most of us get depressed -because- of the industry and how we are treated. In fact there are scientific studies that show the pilot profession suffers from a high order of depression, nevermind that shiftwork itself is a prominent contributing factor.
As an aside, interestingly, liver function tests are never done in medicals to weed out alcoholics, and that hasn't happened even with the pilots they pull up with spot breath testing.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 08:00
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Several years ago I was absolutely put through the ringer by CASA after honestly answering a question on my (first ever) medical about having a history of depression. The episode itself was about five years prior to me going for the medical, and I had been healthy since then.

Given the heartache and stress they put me through may God help anyone who honestly answers that question...

In the words of my GP of twenty plus years (who was also my treating psychologist) - "This is insane. How can someone behind a desk in Canberra decide that you are mentally ill?"

In the words of my Psychiatrist, who had prescribed me medicine for the episode - "This is completely unwarranted and unneccessary."

In the words of my DAME, who was sympathetic - "Sometimes the truth gets you nowhere."

Yes, in the end, I got the medical, but the whole experience almost made me feel like a leper. It also cost over $1000 in specialist appointments just to prove that I was not about to fly a plane into the ground.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 09:43
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Thumbs down

Agree totally, CASA need to address this issue ASAP. Putting cabin crew in flight decks is only a knee jerk reaction and does not address the underlying problem.

It's now time that the industry recognises that pilots are paid [email protected] and improves pay and conditions significantly, increase airfares by 20% and who cares something needs to be done urgently. How in gods name you guys and girls living in capital cities with families can afford to live beats the hell out of me, it's an absolute disgrace that we as professional pilots have to endure this rubbish in our own country, not that I'm saying that things are much better in a lot of other countries.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 07:36
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Its got me thinking just how this could pan out.
Cabin crew are no longer in the cockpit for pilot incapacitation reasons, but in case the pilot becomes suicidal. This means nominated cabin crew are going to have to be given some form of pilot training to know what is going on, or indeed take over themselves. Are cabin crew going to afford to pay that?
How does that effect Low Cost operators - if airlines start paying that training, then there will be an uproar that pilots have to pay for training in comparison.
Further, if the cabin crew person has the remotest possibility of having to pilot the aircraft, doesn't that mean they should also be going under depression testing just like pilots?!
Sounds all silly doesn't it, however logically thats what the implications are.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:21
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Hell, you're a Pilot aren't you, in the twenty first century?..that says it all really!
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:31
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I thought that the Australian Government had a swag of armed 'Air Marshalls' on board domestic flights. Wouldn't they be the best people to fulfil this new requirement?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 10:34
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Probably need someone to sit with the air marshal as well in case they become suicidal.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:32
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Jesus, you couldn't have an air Marshall on the flight deck, they have a gun!

They could take control of the aeroplane from the pilots...oh hang on....
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 03:57
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Remove the lock over-ride facility, delay timer and deadbolt completely. Make it a code entry, changed daily or weekly.
Sure, in theory a terrorist could hold a gun or knife to a crewmember's head to get the entry code, but with so much airport security there are not too many terrorist acts attempted by passengers any more. Serious terrorists would be more likely to use a missile aimed from a hotel or apartment near the airport.
A deranged passenger could be seen as a potential threat, but these days one would hope that other crew and passengers would decisively deal with that. Ditto with a pilot who flips out - if access to the cockpit is available people are not going to sit there all passive while one pilot is in the dunny and the other engages Stuka mode.
One armed Sky Marshall in any aircraft is a baaad idea - as someone suggested, he could be suicidal himself. But three guards scattered around the cabin would work. Post a warning on every ticket and include it in the cabin crew briefing: "bogans - sorry, guests - behaving badly may be shot". Hey, we could even get back to the days when we invited kids with MILFs up front. Not too many of those ever hijacked an aeroplane.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 31st Mar 2015 at 09:21.
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 07:32
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I hate to get too nerdy, but how about if a prolonged or excessive descent occurs AND a coded electronic signal from ATC is received then the cockpit door unlocks!
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 10:49
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I know some people who suffer from minor depression (keeping in mind what is the true definition of Depression is a very broad spectrum).

Knowing these people, you can pick the level of drop by the way they carry themselves, you watch them strap on an aeroplane and blast off.

They always seem to come back with a new spring in their step, a renewed vigour which is clear and evident.

Aviating appears to have the ability to do what medicine can't.
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 21:32
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Also, re-introducing a policy allowing children to visit the flight deck in the cruise and at times of low workload could achieve several things.
1. Relieve boredom, especially if mum is a hottie........
2. Inject a sense of pride in one's work
3. A reminder that we are responsible for innocent lives
4. Greater public awareness of what it is we do

In another post someone suggests that airline management should share responsibility for pilot mental health. To a point, inasmuch as employment conditions can affect well being, but that does not mean anyone other than the perpetrator can ever be blamed for mass murder.
To attempt to share blame in such cases is a cop out. The old bullshit that if you are abused as a child, you are partially excused for abusing children. Your life is a fustercluck, so you are going to mess with other lives, etc. No, you are not in any way excused - in fact all the more reason that you should know better.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 10:20
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Mach E.

Part 1..your 4 points..totally agree!!! my cockpit visit on my first flight ever to the deck of a 727-200LR as a 10 year old, fueled my passion for aviation. That visit is as clear to me today, as if it happened yesterday...Can still see the captain with his wizz wheel out converting knots to Kmh for me to better understand.

Part 2. Employer input into depression management. Not convinced that the employer has any further role beyond Compassion and Support.
From an employers position, your role is no different to if the employee suffered from Alcaholism. This is a really grey area, and I am watching with interest my fathers case. He is unable to work, and works for a company that is self insured....he's actually unable to complete most normal tasks...incl wiping his A!. As the company is self insured, he is required to front each day for light duties. Those duties include completing any new computer based training modules that come up, and simply being present....A clear case of a company fueling depression....really don't know where to go with it.


Part 3. As someone who HAS gone through it, i'll be short and sweet. You have no fuggin idea, and are only espousing words from the media...shut up!
And yes I AM drawing on personal experience!

Happy easter to you and family.

Jas
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